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A non-recipe dinner option filled with joy

Fancy summertime apéro

I don't think another apéro needs an introduction, but in case this is your first time visiting Meet the Meal, here goes.

Fridays are almost a sacred afternoon for us. It's the end of the workweek and both José and I really love the work we do, so by Friday afternoon we've given it our all and we're pretty beat. Weather permitting, we sit on the balcony, have a look over Berlin, watch the birds and planes, and chat about the world and life. It's a moment of total peace to punctuate the moment between the week and the weekend. When I lived in France both as a teenager, and then again when I came back post-college, apéro was this moment of pure joy. You'd snack on a little of this, a little of that. Chat with friends and family and laugh a lot. It's like a cocktail party without the stuffyness meets a dinner party's joy without the sit-downness.

Today's apéro is a truly luxurious one even if when a good friend of mine called in the middle, I told her I was having a platter of cold-cuts for dinner because I couldn't remember the word for "charcuterie". We had a good laugh, very appropriate for a perfect apéro.

One addition that is perhaps a bit remarkable to this apéro is the burrata with truffle honey, fresh olive oil, and smoked flaky sea salt. I'm not sure if it was this year or last, but one of my great friends (with whom I shared many a laugh over an apéro) came to Berlin around New Years and we met up at this lovely Italian restaurant, Al Contadino Sotto Le Stelle. I think I was still feeling the New Years festivities from the night before so I wasn't that hungry or quite frankly, amicable. But we ordered this incredible dish that blew my mind. It was a base of smoked salmon with a giant ball of burrata, nearly doused, but let's be nice and say drizzled, with this acacia honey that had been infused with black truffle, topped off with a little fresh olive oil and some salt. The idea of a fresh mozzarella with smoked fish sounded risky, add in honey, and I was a little worried about it all tasting like fish candy. Then on top, I'm not a big truffle person - I find the flavor overpowering rather than complimentary. But this dish ended up breaking all my assumptions of how it would taste. It was creamy and salty yet sweet. Rich in the most indulgent way, yet, almost light. Although tonight's plate doesn't have the smoked salmon, it uses the smoked flaky salt I had on hand that adds that dimension to the dish.

I'd say this really is more a reminder for types of things you might want to have, rather than a recipe per-say. They key really is to have something acidic or brined to cut through the richness of the cheeses and charcuterie. Plus a great rosé really reminds you you're in the middle of the summer and it's time to enjoy. If you're not drinking alcohol, I'd recommend making a hibiscus iced tea instead.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 jar meaty green olives

200g jamon serrano

1 baguette, sliced into 1/2" rounds, toasted

1 salami, sliced thinly

1 burrata

1 tbsp truffle-infused acacia honey

2 tbsp very spicy olive oil

1/4 tsp smoked flaky sea salt

1 bottle rosé, chilled

Recipe

STEP 1

For the burrata, place the cheese on a plate, drizzle the honey over the top and sides. Drizzle the olive oil over as well, and top with some smoked flaky salt.

STEP 2

Put each of the other ingredients in their own bowl or plate. Make sure to have a little bowl to collect the olive pits.

STEP 3

Extra credit - light an unscented candle if you want to make it a date night.

More

August

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MEET YOUR MEAL

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MEET YOUR MEAL

Every Sunday evening, I send out a newsletter with the following week's dinner menu, and the seasonal produce featured. The newsletter is free, and I won't share or sell your email address.

If it turns out it's not the content you're looking for, you can easily unsubscribe with a link at the bottom of the email. This project was originally a way to wrap my head around the evolving seasonal produce in the supermarkets.

I'm so excited to share the journey and learn from you as I go along!

- Julia Feld